Chancellor Gordon Brown is to officially open the UK's National e-Science Centre in Edinburgh today (despite the fact that the centre has been open since last August).

The centre, a collaboration between Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, allows scientists and researchers to collaborate on projects.

The centre forms a major node in a project that aims to connect super-computers to the internet and then use their processing power to resolve some of science's most problematic equations and theories — a national computing grid.

Ultimately, the grid will provide more processing power to researchers and scientists than ever before, helping them analyse the results of data from around the world.

There are eight regional centres, including London's Imperial College, working on the project.

"The core goal of the [e-Science] programme is to identify and develop the… robust, industrial-strength grid middleware which will underpin the e-Science pilot projects," said Professor Tony Hey, director of the e-Science programme in a press statement.

Although the internet was originally built as a resource for scientists and researchers most of them now only use it for communicating via emails and swapping ideas, rather than as a basis for their research.

"We have already engaged in research projects in a wide range of disciplines and in industrial projects with major companies," Professor Malcolm Atkinson, Director of the e-Science centre. "Our challenge is to make a contribution to UK science, engineering and medicine by swiftly delivering understanding and by sustaining educational and practical support."

The e-Science centre receives government funding — a £5.1m grant was awarded when the centre was established in August, as well as cash from local businesses and industries.